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Thoughts from a Great Book

October 22, 2010

A special thanks to Shane Coffman for connecting me with the book Bridges Out of Poverty by Ruby K. Payne. Memorial Drive Church of Christ is doing a Wednesday night study event based on this work and since I am busy those nights Shane hooked me out. Memorial Drive is a great place with great people making a difference in the Kingdom. That doesn’t even include the Tulsa Workshop, can’t say enough good things.

Anyway, I just wanted to share some thoughts as I have read the book. In talking about organizations and what they can do to help the poor, the author looks to the business guru Peter Drucker and shares this:

“Drucker defines the “theory of business” as those assumptions upon which a business is built and run. He says the theory shapes its behavior, dictates its decisions, and defines what the organization considers a meaningful result or outcome.”

All I could think about was church. What do our actions say about what we value? Think about the community you gather with, what would any given bulletin tell someone about your priorities?

The author talks about protocals for the Aid for Dependent Children program. The theory used to be that you should give basic support to poor women so that they could stay home and raise their children. The goal was to distribute checks. There is so much to this because we humans are driven by goals. You may see where some problems could arise if your goal was to give people money and keeping track of success followed. Remember nothing being done here is sinister, they were trying to help a mother raise and nurture her children without worrying about where the groceries were coming from.

They changed their goal to one that measures success by the number of clients who leave the welfare rolls and find work. Think about how radically that changed everything.

So back to church. I have been thinking about what our actions say about our values. Are what we say and what we do consistent? How about your church? Is what you say consistent with what you do? If we say we want to help the widow, orphan and poor does that show up in your focus?

In many ways I here these words of Jesus when I think about this, how about you?

“Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:33-35 NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

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